Games, fundraising and cozy vibes – this was the wholesome atmosphere twitch streamer MissedAWPortunities (AWP), HoloHero, and their friends wanted to create when they decided to launch an online gaming event to benefit LEAD on March 12th, 2021.

What AWP and her friends didn’t know, was just how successful this event was going to be.

What LEAD and its staff didn’t know, was that this event was happening at all.

It was only when Andy Duran, CEO of LEAD, noticed atypical donations coming in from all over the world, that he and Nate Biggs, COO of LEAD, did some digging. What they discovered: an incredible online community fully engaged in grassroots fundraising.

The CozyThon Marathon was born out of a confluence of factors: a Twitch community centered around completing games as fast as possible (Speedrun Marathons), a subset of that community being committed to mental health wellness, and a desire by that community to make philanthropy a key component of their initiative.

What resulted from these converging threads, was a one-of-a-kind gaming event that ultimately exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“In terms of total views, CozyThon brought in more avg. viewers than most first time events,” AWP said. In fact, most first time charity streams bring in a handful of viewers few hundred dollars in donations.  She added, “When we exceed our $500 donation goal by raising $2,500, we were like, ‘wow, this is unreal!’”

Nate Biggs, LEAD COO, joined CozyThon for most the event and even appeared on screen for a few minutes in an interview.

As the views and dollars came pouring in, Andy and Nate joined the fun by recording a series of “thank you” videos that played during the Marathon. Nate even tuned in for a live interview during the event, and celebrated with the group when the marathon was completed at 1AM on Sunday, March 14th.  According to AWP, having the real-time support and participation from the selected charity’s staff was unprecedented. “That’s never been done before,” AWP said with a smile.

In fact, AWP said the event was such a success, that the CozyThon organizers will keep the charity-focused Marathon going for the foreseeable future.

“Our goal was to create a community that was about more than just games,” AWP said. “We wanted to do something that was family-friendly and that created positive energy.”

In that regard, AWP and her team can confidently say: goal accomplished.

You can learn more about CozyThon and their upcoming events on their Twitter.

You can watch recordings of the event, including LEAD’s interviews and videos, on the CozyThon Twitch.